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Boost your messaging experience with RCS. Learn how to turn on RCS chats.

RCS chats by Google FAQ

What are RCS chats?

Rich Communication Services (RCS) chats provide an upgraded, rich messaging experience. RCS chats:

  • Show you when someone is typing.
  • Offer read receipts, which show when someone has read or received your message. Read receipts also show your contact when you read their message.
  • Send messages over mobile data and Wi-Fi.
  • Let you share files and high-resolution photos.

When you use RCS chats, your messages are sent with the Rich Communication Services (RCS) protocol over Wi-Fi and mobile data. RCS chats will be turned on only when all the participants in a conversation have RCS. RCS chats are provided by Google or your mobile carrier. This article describes RCS chats by Google.

     SMS/MMS message                     RCS message 

What devices work with RCS chats?
Rich Communication Services (RCS) are available on Android devices.
How RCS chats work

When you use RCS chats by Google, messages are sent and received through Google’s RCS backend over the internet. Messages can either be delivered to or received from users on other RCS service providers. If RCS chats are provided by Google, but your recipient’s RCS service is with another provider, your messages are routed through Google’s RCS backend and then routed to your recipient's RCS backend. 

Delivery of SMS and MMS messages, which are always sent through your carrier, won't change as part of your use of RCS chats.

Information we use

To make sure your messages are properly delivered, Google uses information like your phone number, device identifiers, and SIM card number. This data may be stored for about a month in order to keep you connected to RCS and in cases where you temporarily go offline.

When you turn on RCS chats, and each time you send a message, Google checks your contacts to find out if they can also use RCS chats. These checks may go through Google’s RCS backend and other service providers to reach your contacts.

How do I turn on RCS chats?

RCS chats will be turned on when all the participants in a conversation have RCS.

  • If you don’t have the Google Messages, download it from the Play Store.
  • You might be asked to enter your phone number as part of the RCS chats setup.
  • RCS chats can be manually turned on if you tap your profile photo or icon and then Messages settings and then RCS chats.
    • Tip: If you can't find "RCS chats," tap Chat features.
How do I know if my message was sent?

Google Messages tells you when your message has been sent, received, and read through the icons next to your message:

Important: These icons won't show on SMS or MMS messages.

  • Timer : Your message is being sent.
  • Single check : Your message has been sent.
  • Double check : Your message has been delivered.
  • Color-filled double check : Your message has been read.

Which regions are supported?

RCS chats in Google Messages may not be available in all countries or regions. We're working to bring RCS chats broadly to more regions and other messaging apps such as Samsung Messages.

Important: T-Mobile users with Advanced Messaging may be unable to chat or create a group chat with users outside of the T-Mobile network. For more information, please contact T-Mobile about upgrading to Universal Profile 1.0.

I don’t have Google Messages. Can I still get RCS chats?

Yes, if RCS is available from your country and carrier. Download Google Messages on your Android device if your default messaging app doesn't offer RCS chats.

How do I know if I’m talking to someone with RCS?

If your conversation’s compose bar displays “RCS message," your messages are sent with Rich Communication Services (RCS).

To check your RCS availability and status:

  1. Open Google Messages .
  2. Tap your profile photo or icon and then Messages settings and then RCS chats.
    • Tip: If you can't find "RCS chats," tap Chat features.

RCS messages you've sent are darker blue than SMS or MMS messages.

Locate the bubble badge

When you or someone you message turns on RCS, a "Bubble Badge Bubble Badge for RCS" appears on your home screen.

RCS is a messaging experience that offers rich features.

  • High-quality media: You can share files and high-resolution photos.
  • Read receipts: Show when someone has read or received your message. This also shows your contact when you read their message.
  • Typing indicators: Show when someone is typing.

What happens if I don’t have data, or the recipient isn’t online?

Google Messages can still be sent as SMS or MMS.

You can check and set your default option when RCS isn't available:

  1. Open Google Messages .
  2. At the top right, tap your profile photo or icon and then Messages settings and then RCS chats and then Resend messages.
  3. Choose your default option:
    • Always resend as SMS/MMS
    • Resend as SMS/MMS when not roaming
    • Ask before resending
    • Never resend as SMS/MMS

What is the group chat experience when I include people who don’t have RCS chats?

If all the participants don’t have RCS chats turned on, you still may be able to create SMS/MMS groups.

Are my conversations kept secure?

Your conversations are kept secure. When you send RCS chats to contacts that use Google Messages, your messages are end-to-end encrypted.

Learn how RCS chats keep your conversations secure.

Can I use RCS chats with Apple’s iMessage?

While you get many of the same benefits as iMessage, they are different messaging services. Conversations between someone with Google’s RCS chats and someone with Apple iMessage are sent through SMS/MMS.

Do RCS chats cost money?

When you use RCS chats, your messages are sent over Wi-Fi and mobile data. As long as you're connected to a Wi-Fi network that you don't have to pay to use, there should be no cost to send and receive messages. If your messages are sent using mobile data, the cost is based on your mobile data plan.

Google may occasionally verify your phone number via SMS to offer RCS chats (SMS charges may apply).

Why do I get a battery optimization prompt?

Google Messages requires a constant connection to send and receive messages in real-time. To turn on RCS chats, on some devices you may be prompted to exclude Google Messages from battery optimization. Click YES when you see “Ignore battery optimizations?” during setup to turn on RCS chats. This won't noticeably impact battery life.

To exclude Google Messages from battery optimization:

  1. On your Android device, open your Settings.
  2. Tap Apps & notifications and then Special app access and then Battery optimization and then Messages and then Don't Optimize.

Will my messages be sent if RCS chats aren't available?

If RCS chats are unavailable, your messages can be sent via SMS or MMS. You can check and set your default fallback option when RCS chats aren't available.

If you are unable to turn on or have trouble with RCS chats, reference the troubleshooting section of this article.

What is Carrier Services & why does it collect my data?
Carrier Services provides services to support RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging in Google Messages. It collects diagnostic and crash data to ensure these services operate smoothly.

Troubleshooting

What if RCS chats aren't available for my device?

To check your RCS availability and status:

  • Tap on your profile photo or icon and then Messages settings and then RCS chats.
    • Tip: If you can't find "RCS chats," tap Chat features.

To troubleshoot your RCS chats connection:

  1. Update Google Messages and your Carrier Services from Play Store.
  2. Make sure Google Messages is set as your default SMS app.
  3. If your device has dual SIM slots, and both SIMs are inserted, make sure your Call SIM is configured as your Data SIM:
    1. On your Android device, open your Settings.
    2. Tap Network & Internet.
    3. Make sure your Call SIM is configured as Data.

What if my RCS chats status shows that my carrier doesn't support, or I’m ineligible to receive RCS?

We're working to bring RCS support to more countries/regions and carriers.

My RCS chats status says “Setting up.” How do I get RCS chats?

When we're in the process of verifying your phone number, your RCS chats status displays “Setting up.” If the “Setting up” status remains for more than a day, it means Google Messages can’t verify your phone number.

To verify your phone number:

  1. Go to your profile photo or icon and then Messages settings and then RCS chats. Tap RETRY and confirm your phone number when requested.
    • Tip: If you can't find "RCS chats," tap Chat features.
  2. Google will send an SMS to confirm your phone number.
  3. Make sure you can receive SMS messages.

I have other issues or feedback. How do I report it?

To submit feedback:

  • From within Google Messages, go to your profile photo or icon and then Help & feedback and then Send feedback.

Check here for more troubleshooting steps. You can also submit questions to our community forum.

Will features like typing indicators and read receipts work when the recipient doesn't have RCS chats?

No, but standard text messaging via SMS/MMS will still work.  

I don't currently use Google Messages, what happens if I switch my default app to use Google Messages and start to use RCS chats?

You can make Google Messages your default app as described here. You won’t lose any existing SMS/MMS messages if you change your default app to Google Messages and you’ll be able to use Google Messages’ benefits such as Google Messages for Web, Smart Replies, and RCS chats (where supported).

If your previous messaging app supports proprietary features or non-interoperable forms of messaging (not SMS, MMS or interoperable RCS), you won't be able to use those features after you switch.

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